In an effort to empower and uplift fire brigades and communities in Africa by improving fire safety, MSA Africa , representing MSA Safety globally, has partnered with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Africa Fire Mission (AFM) to refurbish and donate over 1 100 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), valued at US$5000, to fire brigades in Kenya and Zambia.
MSA Africa respiratory and fire helmets product manager Suraksha Mohun at SAESI 2015
The Kenyan capital Nairobi has a population of approximately five million people. According to AFM executive director David Moore, the city had two fire engines and 154 firefighters in 2012. “Their PPE was predominately construction helmets, rain coats and plastic boots. They only had two working SCBAs and were unable to refill them, so they were rarely used.”
MSA Africa respiratory and fire helmets product manager Suraksha Mohun explains that many countries in Africa still struggle with fire equipment and protection, due to a lack of knowledge, procurement and political issues. “Fire departments are often not prioritised to get the basic equipment that they require,” she states.
In total, 400 sets of PPE have been distributed among 20 fire brigades in Kenya, with an additional 750 to fire brigades in Zambia. Approximately 100 self-contained breathing apparatus’ (SCBA) and 500 helmets donated by MSA Safety, came directly from the USA, where fire departments generally purchase new fire equipment every five to eight years.
MSA Safety has provided parts and the labour to rehabilitate the SCBAs and also rehabilitated around 50 SCBAs that will soon be donated to more African countries. The company will also be providing the tools, training, and equipment such as helmets, gloves, fall protection, BA bottles, and parts, to assist the local fire brigades in increasing their sustainable fire protection capacity.
“Furthermore, MSA Africa has sent representatives from South Africa to both Lusaka and Nairobi to provide training and demonstrations on its equipment, which was deemed incredibly valuable to the firefighters in those countries,” Mohun continues.
In late 2016, the remaining fire departments in Zambia will receive a shipment with equipment to fully prepare them. “MSA Africa and AFM will jointly continue to provide opportunities for fire brigades in Africa to access SCBAs and other much-needed fire safety equipment. In 2016, MSA Africa plans to put more effort in bringing more knowledge and mobilising support for these initiatives, through presentations and fire industry meetings,” Mohun concludes.
AFM is the second largest NGO in the world that seeks to aid firefighters in Africa. It provides training with an emphasis on fire prevention, to communities and fire brigades. It also provides donations of basic PPE and breathing apparatus to increase the ability of local firefighters to work safely on emergency scenes. For more information visit www.africafiremission.org